Over the last almost two decades Da Nang has spiralled upwards and outwards as Vietnam’s third city and a distinct feeling that much more is to come hangs in the air. Da Nang was named as a municipal province in 1996 when it was spun off from Quang Nam, and today the city boasts an impressive skyline while resorts and hotels line up along the coast.
Experience it firsthand
Ba Na Hills
Once a hill resort favored by the French for its lush mountain scenery and cooler climate, Ba Na is still beautiful - though many of the colonial villas are in ruins. While the French elite were once carried up in sedan chairs, these days the summit is accessed by a three and a half mile cable car ride - considered one of the best in the world. At the top is a charming replica of a French town, a funicular railway that ascends even higher, and a downhill luge. Hiking trails lead off into the surrounding countryside, revealing waterfalls, a pagoda and a giant seated Buddha.
Cham Museum Sculpture
In Danang's Hai Chau District near the Han River, the world's largest collection of Cham artifacts is displayed in a charming museum. Housed in colonial French buildings, visitors can see original items from Vietnam's indigenous people - from altars and lingas, to garudas and apsaras, to images of the Hindu gods - from Ganesha and Shiva, to Brahma and Vishnu. The collections date back as far as the fifth century and there are also regular exhibitions on modern Cham culture.
South of Danang, a cluster of five marble and limestone mountains are named for the five elements: water, air, wood, fire, earth. Riven with caves and grottoes, and cut with winding mountain paths and steps, the hills are well-worth exploring for the many Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries and pagodas - not to mention stunning views of Danang and the coast.
Son Tra peninsula
Son Tra (as it is known locally) is a scenic national park to the north of Danang, which sits at an elevation of nearly 2300 feet. The peninsula below is fringed with beaches and the views from the summit take in Hai Van Mountain Pass, Cham Island and Da Nang City. A popular attraction within the mountainous scenery is the 23-foot tall statue of the goddess of mercy - the tallest sculpture of this deity in southeast Asia.
Explore the abandoned Hindu temples of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples were constructed by the Champa kings between the 4th and the 14th century A.D. and are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva. Beyond the beauty of the temples themselves, My Son area is home to rich scents emanating from neighboring coffee plantations and the sound of freshwater streams running through the tropical forest. Learn aout the sculptural details here that are specific to Cham design, as well as about the history of this period.